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breathing life into clay

It still feels magic. Here we go - this is me in my basement studio in the early stages of a sculpture. I like it when this part goes quickly because I think it keeps the idea fresh. Not that my original idea makes it all the way through to finished piece very often - things change along the way. It's kind of like having a conversation with clay. Sometimes it tells me where it is going.

A close-up with a wet cloth on part of it to keep it from drying too quickly.

A little further along - now I'm working with slightly dryer clay - though still not leather hard - so that I can bring the desired detail further along.

At this point the piece has been dried, I have added a finer slip onto the rougher sculpture clay, some underglazes have been painted onto the greenware. Then a bisque firing, a little glaze on the bird, some more underglaze colouring and a second firing. I have also added oil paints on parts - particularly the beaks and hair. Adding oil paints at the end of the process allows me to be more specific about the results. At this point I am not so interested in surprises! Also, the transparent nature of the paints allows the highlighted textures to show through.

Almost done - I'll put wax on the parts of the sculpture that are not glazed to give it a nice soft texture and cork on the bottom to protect any surfaces that it might sit on. After probably about 2 months in the studio it is ready to greet the world!

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